If you face an upcoming high-asset Texas divorce, one of the things you will need to do is to come up with reasonable values for whatever antiques you own so you can include these amounts in your eventual property settlement agreement.

Assigning value to antiques is no easy matter. Regardless of how much sentimental value you or your spouse may attach to your antiques, sentiment plays no part when it comes to determining their current market value. In fact, one of the things you need to realize is that some of your antiques may not be antiques at all. In the collecting world, people use the following terms to refer to old items:

  1. Antique – an object created 100 years ago at a minimum
  2. Vintage – an object created between 75-100 years ago
  3. Retro – an object created during the 20th mid-century period of the 1950s and 1960s

Nevertheless, many retro and/or vintage items are more valuable than some true antiques.

Valuation factors

Regardless of the age of your antiques or other old objects, the following four factors also play a big part in determining their value:

  1. Condition: how much wear and tear your object exhibits
  2. Identification: whether or not your object carries a manufacturer’s mark, artist’s signature or other pieces of identification that proves a particular artist or manufacturer produced it
  3. Rarity: the number of like or highly similar objects currently available
  4. Market strength: whether or not collectors are currently searching for objects like yours and what they are paying for them

Professional appraisals

While it may be tempting to call in a local antique dealer or auctioneer to value your antiques and other old objects, you should resist the urge to do this. Why? Because they likely do not have the extensive experience needed to realistically value them. The Huffington Post highly recommends that you hire a professional appraiser certified by the American Society of Appraisers, the Appraisers Association of America or the International Society of Appraisers. Even then, however, keep in mind that no single appraiser has experience in all types of antiques. Therefore, do not trust a jewelry expert to give you a realistic appraisal of your glassware, porcelain and property, furniture, artwork, etc.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.